Monday, March 6, 2023

[Herpetology • 2020] Amolops mahabharatensis • A New Species of Amolops Cope, 1865 (Anura: Ranidae) from Nepal and Nomenclatural Validation of Amolops nepalicus Yang, 1991

Amolops mahabharatensis 
Khatiwada, Shu, Wang, Zhao, Xie & Jiang, 2020

 Asian Herpetological Research. 11(2)

A new species, Amolops mahabharatensis sp. nov., is described from Mahabharat range (middle mountain) of Nepal. The new species is a member of the A. marmoratus group and is distinguished from its congeners using morphological and molecular data. The new species is diagnosed by having numerous warts on dorsum and flanks, dorsal body greyish olive-brown/light brown, presence of vomerine teeth series, presence of a pair of subgular vocal sacs in males and tadpole with III:5+5/1+1:II – labial tooth row. In addition, evidenced by the phylogenetic and morphological analyses in this study, Amolops nepalicus is shown to be a valid species. A molecular phylogenetic analysis based on 16S ribosomal gene for six members of the A. marmoratus group suggested that the new species is sister to a clade containing A. nepalicus and A. panhai. The uncorrected genetic divergences between the new species and its closest congeners A. nepalicus, A. panhai and A. marmoratus based on 16S rRNA gene were 10.5%, 11.6%, and 8.6% respectively. The new species showed wide distribution in the Mahabharat range of Nepal.
Keywords: A. marmoratus group;  mahabharat range;  molecular phylogeny;  taxonomy

Amolops mahabharatensis sp. nov. 
Male holotype in natural habitat A. Dorsolateral view B. Ventral view.
  Female paratype in natural habitat. 
Microhabitat at Siraichuli Hill, Chitwan district, Nepal.

Amolops mahabharatensis sp. nov. 

Suggested common name: Mahabharat Torrent frog
Suggested common name in Nepali: पाहाड ी पि र्रेपाहा (Pahadi Pirre Paha)

Diagnosis: The new species is assigned to genus Amolops based on the molecular and morphological similarity (first finger with circummarginal and transverse grooves on disk and tadpoles with gastromyzophorous) of the specimens to those of other species in the A. marmoratus group. Further, the new species is assigned to the genus Amolops due to the presence of ventral sucker in tadpole (tadpoles were identified with molecular method); a major diagnostic feature (Inger, 1966). Amolops mahabharatensis sp. nov differed from other species of Amolops based on the following morphological characters: (1) male SVL (mean 37.1 mm, n=14), (2) dorsal surface granular, (3) head wider than longer, (4) distinct dorsolateral fold, (5) nuptial pad present on first finger of male (6) circummarginal grooves present on all digit discs, (7) toes fully webbed, (8) males with dual gular poaches, (9) vomerine teeth weakly developed, and (10) tadpoles with gastromyzophorous (ventral abdominal sucker) and distinct mouth parts (III:5+5/1+1:II).

Etymology: The species name is derived from the noun “Mahabharat” which refers to the foothills of Himalaya, from where this species were collected.

Janak Raj Khatiwada, Guocheng Shu, Bin Wang, Tian Zhao, Feng Xie and Jianping Jiang. 2020. Description of A New Species of Amolops Cope, 1865 (Amphibia: Ranidae) from Nepal and Nomenclatural Validation of Amolops nepalicus Yang, 1991. Asian Herpetological Research. 11(2); 71-94. DOI: 10.16373/j.cnki.ahr.190052